Pédologie. Sol, végétation, environnement. By Philippe Duchaufour

Pédologie. Sol, végétation, environnement. By Philippe Duchaufour


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This is the third edition of the now well-known DUCHAUFOUR's treatise of pedology (abridged version), with notable additions (289 pp. in place of 224 pp. in the 2nd ed.). The purpose of the author is, like in the previous editions, to bring about an unique book dealing with all aspects of soil science, either fundamental or applied.



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Book review
ème Pédologie. Sol,végétation,environnement, 3ed.Duchaufour. 1991.By Ph. 289pp.,83figs.,2 col.13.5plates. Size x 21.5cm.First edition1984, second edition 150 FF.1988. Price ISBN 2-225-82421-5.
This is the thirdedition ofthe nowwell-known DUCHAUFOUR's treatiseofpedology(abridged nd version),withnotable additions(289pp. in place of224pp. in the2 ed.).Thepurpose of the author is, like intheprevious editions,to bringabout anunique book dealing withall aspects of soil science, eitherfundamentalorapplied.
Thefirst part(50pp.) is devotedto theproperties of the two mainchemicalpartsofmineralthe soil: and organicmatter.Afewadditions concern mainly soilmicrobiologyand clay-humus assemblages. This part is mainly descriptive but may help to understand most processes taking place within the soil system.
The second part (64 pp.) is devoted to bulkproperties of the soil. This is the place where most physical and chemical measurements made on the soil (considered as a black box) are detailedand their use for agriculture and sylviculture commented. Additions are mainly on the root systemof cultivated plants and the importance of soilatmosphere and water for their development and nutrition.and may be of interest for people dealing with the soilThis part is mainly experimental as a medium for plant growth and seed germination.
The third part (112 pp.) is devoted to thebuilding of the different kind of soil profiles andtheir classification. This is the place whereabout the soil systemDUCHAUFOUR's views as the interface between biosphere and geosphere are better developed. Time scales, man influence,climate changes are key points of his brilliantdemonstration.The place of humus type, as the mean by whichvegetation determines the soilprofile, is emphasized,but nothing is said of thereverse (being probably judged out of place). Addition and changes concern mainly nomenclature and classification problems which are alwayspuzzling soil scientists, from the beginning. Thedifferent classifications in use are presented, each with its advantages and disadvantages, and pas-sages from the one to the other are indicated. Thedifferent soil types are abundantly described, withwhite schemesblack and and colour photograph plates, in an order following the German classification which is based on the degree of evolutionof soils.
The fourth part (44 pp.) is devoted to applied pedology. Are comprised under this heading mapping of the soils (and of integrated systems including soils), soil improvement and protection.The last aspect is only present in this edition.Itembraces protection against erosion, compaction,desertification, pollution (heavy metals, nitrates,etc...) and acidification.
This book is remarkable by its high scientificlevel and the clarityof the exposition of facts(gaps are not overlooked). For a practical use, however, the absence of keys or (better) syfor thenoptic tables identification of soil and humus types is regrettable. Concerning science, two points need to be better exemplified (in a future edition, if any), i) the place of soil animals in the genesis of the different kind of humus profiles, ii) the short term influence of man andvegetationupon soil profiles .Protection of soils cannot be understood without a good knowledge of theseprocesses. Last,the absence of an English editionTo this date DUCHAUFOUR'sis regrettable. book has been only translated in Spanish and Japanese! Maybe an English translation from Japanese could be hoped within a fewyears.
J. F.Ponge National Museum of Natural History Laboratory of General Ecology
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